After Chicago saw its deadliest weekend of the year, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown on Monday said he’s planning to have additional resources available in preparation for the anniversary of the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday and Memorial Day weekend.
Officers will keep working 12-hour shifts, Brown said, adding that this weekend “speaks for itself on why would you need more resources on the ground.” In addition to longer work days, Brown said the department is canceling officers’ days off over the holiday weekend.
“And as we approach Memorial Day, I think from a historical perspective, [it’s] better to prepare for the worst ... than, you know, not be prepared,” Brown said.
Brown said the Chicago Police Department is unaware of any “actionable intelligence” about possible unrest Tuesday, the first anniversary of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killing Floyd. The murder sparked a summer of worldwide protests for social justice.
Brown’s decision on officers’ schedules comes five days after the board of directors of the Fraternal Order of Police issued a vote of no confidence in Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Brown and First Deputy Supt. Eric Carter.
FOP President John Catanzara last week cited growing frustrations with officers’ working conditions as a reason for the vote.
Brown said officer wellness is a top priority, but noted the schedule changes are standard practice to deal with “the oncoming summer violence.”
Chicago was hit with another violent weekend, with at least 12 killed and 42 wounded in shootings as of Monday morning. The dead included a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old.
Brown sees several factors behind the rise in gun violence, including “too many illegal guns in the wrong hands” and the need for more collaboration within the community.
“These young people don’t have to resort to violence, they could decide to put their guns down,” Brown said.
Brown also raised what he called a “healthy debate” on the county’s electronic monitoring system, citing a Chicago Tribune report about the number of violent offenders released on electronic monitoring this year.
More than 530 people charged as felons in possession of a weapon and 261 charged as armed habitual criminals have been released on electronic monitoring, Brown said. Nearly 570 offenders facing aggravated unlawful use of a weapon charges are on electronic monitoring, too.
Brown said the current electronic monitoring system is not sustainable for violent offenders.
“These people are going back to mostly communities of color who, in my opinion, have the highest victimization rates across the city,” Brown said. “So it is a healthy debate. But it’s not a [Cook County State’s Attorney] Kim Foxx debate — it is judges have decided that these are the outcomes for people who commit violent crimes.”
Brown said he recently met with Foxx, Lightfoot and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle about this issue among others, though he declined to disclose details of that discussion.
“We’re keeping that private,” he said. “We’re working together trying to get some resolution.”
Meanwhile, Foxx spokeswoman Sarah Sinovic shed a little more light on the closed-door meeting. The premise of the gathering was to “discuss how the group can work together to make Chicago the safest it can be,” she said, adding: “This won’t be the end of discussion, but rather an ongoing collaborative effort of the criminal justice stakeholders.”